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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory

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Title: To Kill a Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil #1)
Author:
H.P. Mallory
Publisher: Self
Release Date: July 3, 2010
Acquired Via:
Personal Collection

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim.

Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.


My Review

I had come across H.P. Mallory’s other series, Jolie Wilkins, whose main character is a witch, about eight months ago and ordered it for the library where I work. I started reading the first book in the series, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, but I just couldn’t get into it. So when I came across Mallory’s Dulcie O’Neil series, I was a bit apprehensive, but I thought I would give it a chance. I am pleased that I did.

The cover art has a cutesy tone to it, and with the main character being a fairy named Dulcie, you might think this book would be super sweet, but that was not the case. In fact, the S&M club scenes have a bit of a bite to them.

I really enjoy books where the female lead has some snark to her, and Dulcie definitely did. She uses it expertly to keep the over inflated ego of the investigator she is working with, Knight Vander, in check during his multiple attempts at seducing her. That name though, Knight Vander, kept making me pause. It made me think of a character crossed between Darth Vader and a Jedi Knight, and I’m more of a Star Trek girl than Star Wars. But the books was good so I can let it slide.

To Kill a Warlock also had a nice mix of humor along with the murders and betrayals that take place. In the opening scene Dulcie is turned into a slime monster, which is pretty amusing. And then shortly afterward she comes across a gruesome murder scene.

And of course, I have to talk about the romance. There’s the main attraction between Dulcie and Knight. Then you have her boss, Quillan, whom Dulcie is basing the main character of her pirate bodice ripper book on. (It amused me that Dulcie is writing a book in this book!) There’s the vampire who Dulcie uses for information, and the vampire would like to use Dulcie just as much. And you also have a demon at the S&M club who wants to get with Dulcie, but probably not in any way she would want.

There have been book series that I have stopped reading (Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke) completely because I could not handle the love triangle any longer. And other series (Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich) that I am really close to stopping for the same reason. But this giant love square didn’t bother me. It could be that there were so many romantic interests, and because I just started this series, but I really did enjoy all the interaction between Dulcie and these male characters.

With summer quickly approaching I think To Kill a Warlock would be a great book to put on your device and take to the beach for a fun, fast read. There are six other novels and a short story in the Dulcie O’Neil series, with the seventh to be released this summer. I’m looking forward to reading book two in this series, A Tale of Two Goblins. And the library nerd in me loves that all the titles for this series are a play off of other book titles.

- 4/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | iTunes | Kobo




Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu (ARC) #yalit

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Title: The Novice (Summoner #1)
Author:
Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Acquired Via:
Publisher

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.


My Review

The Novice felt like it was a video game trying to be a book, which should have been perfect for me. Every time I picked up the book and read about orcs, mana and demons in the students' roster, I picked up my newest gaming obsession - Final Fantasy Record Keeper. This meant that this book took me about three times longer than necessary to read.

Other than the fact that I found The Novice entirely too easy to put down, I was also pretty bored for the majority of it. I'm used to getting lots of world building and some boring scenes in high fantasy (especially in the journey variety), but I while I thought the world was interesting, I didn't appreciate the way the information was given to me. The way that the teachers were constantly giving the students every piece of information on the demons was just an unnecessarily boring info dump. I think I would have liked it more had Fletcher learned some of the information on his own or if some of his fellow student had clued him in. Somehow it wasn't nearly as intolerable when Hermoine did it in Harry Potter. ;)

Also, nothing really happens at the school other than the information overload and the awful nobles until the end of The Novice. I wish that the tournament at the end of the book had encompassed more of the novel than it did. We mostly only get Fletcher's point of view, but I think that it could have been extended to see the fights through his friends' eyes.

I also wish that we would have gotten more information on the world and the political intrigue. I want to know what happened to star the war with the orcs, and where exactly is the demons' original home? I liked the bond between the humans and the demons, and I liked the video game-like slant to the story, but I don't think that it's going to be enough to be unforgettable for me.

- 3/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond | IndieBound
Google Play | iTunes | Kobo



To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the outcome of my review.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

So You Want to Be a Princess Blog Tour: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot #Giveaway #MiddleSchoolPrincess

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Happy Wednesday, fellow bibliophiles, and thank you for visiting my stop on the So You Want to Be a Princess blog tour! This tour consists of essays written by bloggers about what they would do if they woke up one morning and found themselves to be a princes or princesses. There is also a giveaway on this stop, thanks to our wonderful friends at Macmillan!



Title: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess (From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #1)
Author:
Meg Cabot
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren't average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn't want to complain).

Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she's knocked down at the bus stop...

Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles...

Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn't so average after all!


What I Would Do If I Woke Up a Princess

As a mother, I don't get too many opportunities to be selfish. However, if I woke up one morning and found myself to be a princess, I would exercise a little bit of selfishness - in the beginning.

The first thing I would do if I woke up a princess is roll back over and wake up at a more reasonable hour. My five o'clock alarm clock is a little ridiculous. I mean, who doesn't prefer to wake up with the sun shining in the windows on them?! And, of course, I would require a breakfast of pancakes from scratch, fresh fruit, egg whites, and maybe a filet mignon for protein to get me through the day. I mean, I'm sure being a princess would be hard work, and I'd need some energy to get me through my first day!

A princess doesn't have to have a normal job, so I'd probably have to take a leave of absence from my job as a librarian. (I know myself too well to quit for good (I love my job that much), so a few weeks off is probably the most I could survive.) I would have to go shopping and get a makeover so I could look fabulous for my fans...er...subjects. I'm sure a quick private flight to New York City could be arranged because I'm sure My Highness only deserves the very best!

And, knowing me, I would probably be tired of the entourage, cameras, questions, and shopping by early afternoon. I would be ready to go back to my old life. I'd probably drag it all out as long as it required for me to get a nice European vacation, and then I would happily abdicate the throne.

What would YOU do if you suddenly found yourself to be a prince or princess?

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond
Google Play | iTunes | Kobo



About the Author

© Lisa De Tullio




Meg Cabot is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series. Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France, and Carmel, California, before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Indiana University. She is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including five #1 New York Times bestsellers. Over 25 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Meg Cabot currently lives in Key West with her husband and cat.





Links
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4th
YA Book Nerd

Tuesday, May 5th
Word Spelunking

Wednesday, May 6th
Book Chic

Thursday, May 7th
What a Nerd Girl Says

Friday, May 8th
Shae Has Left the Room

Monday, May 11th
A Backwards Story

Tuesday, May 12th
The Reading Nook Reviews

Wednesday, May 13th
Green Bean Teen Queen

Thursday, May 14th
A Reader’s Adventure

Monday, May 18th
Bookish Broads

Tuesday, May 19th
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Wednesday, May 20th
Bibliophila, Please

Thursday, May 21st
Working for the Mandroid

Friday, May 22nd
Mundie Moms Book Reviews

Monday, May 25th
Alice Marvels

Tuesday, May 26th
A Perfection Called Books

Wednesday, May 27th
Dana Square

Giveaway

Thanks to our friends at Macmillan, I have a copy of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, as well as a sparkly crown(!!!), up for grabs for one lucky winner. All you have to do is fill out the little Rafflecopter form below.



US & Canada ONLY
Ends at 12:01am CST on June 11th

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour!

Waiting on Wednesday (107): Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Autumn Thorns (Whisper Hollow #1)
Author:
Yasmine Galenorn
Publisher: Jove (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Fifteen years ago, I ran away from Whisper Hollow, Washington, a small town on Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. But truth is, if you were born here, you can never really leave. I’m Kerris Fellwater, and when I returned, I inherited my grandmother’s house—and her gift. As a spirit shaman, it’s my responsibility to drive the dead back to their graves, because around Whisper Hollow, people—and secrets—don’t always stay buried.

When I was little, I was told my mother ran off. But now it looks like she was murdered. With the help of my mysterious neighbor Bryan, we begin to unravel the mystery of her disappearance, and in doing so, unearth a dark force seeking to bury Whisper Hollow. Now I must work with the dead, rather than against them, because our enemy will do whatever she can to destroy the town, and she means to start with me.



I never finished Galenorn's Sisters of the Moon series; I think I stopped aroudn book 7. I really liked the world, the three main characters and the magic, but I think I was too much of a prude for the series. I just love the premise to this one though, AND it has a deliciously creepy cover....and it's releasing right before Halloween! I kind of can't pass up an urban fantasy book with gravestones on the cover that will release 4 days before Halloween.

Marketing - 1, Amber - 0.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blog Tour (Excerpt): A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens #Giveaway

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Title: A Match for Marcus Cynster (Cynsters #23)
Author:
Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: MIRA (Harlequin)
Tour Organizer: TLC Book Tours
Release Date: May 26, 2015

Duty compels her to turn her back on marriage. Fate drives him to protect her come what may. Then love takes a hand in this battle of yearning hearts, stubborn wills, and a match too powerful to deny. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion. Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?

Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.

Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.

Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.

Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.


Excerpt

In the end, it was agreed that, without any fanfare, Sir Godfrey would reopen the cases of her father’s and the Burns sisters’ deaths, and exonerate Nigel of the crimes by virtue of Nolan’s confession and the subsequent confirmation that it was, indeed, he who had been the villain in all three cases. Catriona, who, through her position as Lady of the Vale, maintained a close connection with the local minister, volunteered to explain matters to Reverend Foyle, thus easing the way for the clan to arrange the appropriate funeral and burials.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love, But Never Got Around to Writing a Review

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books That I Love, But Never Got Around to Writing a Review



1. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This is The Book I recommend to everyone when they are looking for something to read, and have no idea what they want. You get romance, historical elements and food. My perfect trifecta.





2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

A New England college, students who think their eccentricities make them better than everyone else, a murder, booze, pills, secrets, and more murder. This book made me want to keep reading to see just how far they would go. Plus I have a thing for books with with horror/mysteries that take place on the East Coast, which I attribute to reading Stephen King at a very young age.



Friday, May 15, 2015

Promo Blitz: Bitter Sweet Love by R.C. Stephens #free #GetItNow #BitterSweetLove #RCStephens

1 comment:




Title: Bitter Sweet Love (Twisted #1)
Author:
R.C. Stevens
Publisher: Self
Release Date: January 18, 2015

After enduring an abusive childhood and having her heart broken by the only boy she trusts, Alexis White vows to never let anyone hurt her again. She's left her troubled past behind and starts a new life at college. For the past seven years, her social calendar has been filled with frat parties, drinking, and meaningless sexual hook-ups. Until one night she unexpectedly gets saved by a tall, dark, and handsome French foreigner, Luc Blanchard. He's charming, sophisticated, and very interested in Lexi, who has presented herself as a challenge when she tells him relationships aren't her thing.

She finds herself sucked in by his own intriguing past. But everything changes when Dylan Priestley, the gorgeous boy who broke her heart and shattered her faith in friendship and love, suddenly shows up in her life again while back home on a visit. Dylan doesn't hide his feelings for Lexi, but she can't forgive or forget being betrayed by the one person she ever truly loved.

Despite the pain Dylan's caused her, Lexi is once again drawn to the blue-eyed-boy-next-door. Will Lexi choose the man who seems perfect but hides a dark side or the boy who smashed her heart into pieces so many years ago?


Bitter Sweet Love will be free from May 15th-19th!

Buy Link
Amazon



About the Author

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

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Title: Owl and the Japanese Circus (The Adventures of Owl #1)
Author:
Krista Charish
Publisher: Gallery (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Acquired Via:
Library

Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.


My Review

This review was originally posted at http://kimheniadis.com and used to introduce the newest reviewer, Kim, to the fold.

You know that old saying, Don’t Choose a Book by Its Cover? I usually don’t. I often pick a book by its title, that’s why I chose Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish. Owls in a Japanese circus act? What are they doing? But wait, this is an Urban Fantasy, so that can’t even be close to what it’s about. I flipped the book over and started reading the back.
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Harrison and Butcher’s books are ones that I read as soon as they come out. And I’ve never heard of Linda Hamilton, but maybe they meant Laurell K. Hamilton, and I used to read her books... sounds excellent so far.

Then I read “modern-day “Indiana Jane”. What is that meme? Shut up and take my money.